When I first graduated high school, my daughter was a little under a year old. I had a roommate, but we l struggled to pay rent. I was attending community college full time and had not yet locked down a job that paid well. Before getting into banking I pretty much worked any job offered to make sure my bills were paid. Here’s a list of some ways I made money during an extremely broke period of my life.
My roommate was working at bar down the street from our house and talked the owner into giving me a job. I was not the world’s greatest bartender but, thankfully it was a whole in the wall spot with old regulars who mostly drank beer and simple drinks. When I needed to make more complicated drinks, there were index cards behind the bar with all the drink recipes. The bar was small and, well… in the hood but surprisingly the tips were not horrible. My roommate and I made enough here to collectively pay our low rent at the time.
I’m not going to lie, this one sucked. Imagine going to work every day and doing a job that none of the “customers” actually wanted you to do. Telemarketing jobs are relatively easy to get because no one wants to do them. As long as you can read and are not doing any illegal activities during working hours (breaks are a different story…people did coke in the bathroom) you pretty much have the job. I worked 80 hours a week calling people trying to get them to do surveys over the phone. I got a bonus if people didn’t hang up and for some odd reason, chose to complete the survey. There were a few extremely lonely people out there that actually didn’t mind taking a 20-minute survey with a complete stranger.
The upside to Jobs like this is, they usually have really professional sounding company names, so you can list them on your resume with a loosely based description of what you actually did there and come off like you have experience in corporate America, even if you were just hand dialing numbers on a cord phone and reading a script off a computer operating on windows 1.
Door to Door Vacuum sales
Yes, people still do this. Originally, I didn’t know this is what I was going to an interview for. Just like the telemarketing place, the company had an extremely professional sounding name and the job description mentioned that I would be setting up product demonstration appointments making $800.00 a week. The ad in the paper failed to mention that I would be getting dropped off on corners in suburban neighborhoods going door to door asking people if they wanted their carpets cleaned for free and then placing a young but equally broke man in their home who would try to sell them a $2000.00 carpet cleaner.]
As crazy as this sounds I actually did this part time for about 4 months and made a decent amount of money. The reality was my boss had invested in however many of these floor cleaners and then hired myself and two guys to sell these things door to door. We would drive around all day from city to city looking for “rich neighborhoods” and my boss would let me out on the corner and I would knock on every door on the block. If I got a guy in for a demonstration and the homeowner actually bought a vacuum I would also get commission from the sale. There were even some guys that would ask me to do the demonstration instead, then, I would receive a full commission if I made a sale. You would be surprised how many people are willing to make payments on a vacuum.
Sweeping up wood chips
This is literally what I did all day. At one point I was registered with about 4 different temp agencies at once time, one of them, which primarily catered to men sent me on a 3-week assignment sweeping up would chips at a major furniture manufacture. This was tiring as hell and the broom was huge. I came home with wood chips everywhere, I even got some in my eye a couple of times. This same temp agency sent me on a one-day assignment to hang telephone wire.
One of my coworkers from the telemarking company had a sister that started an oil wrestling league, she casually approached me one day and asked If I wanted to participate in some oil wrestling matches that weekend. At first, I was super skeptical but when I say I was laser focused on the bag and getting it by any means necessary (within reason) I agreed to participate on a trial basis.
this couple had branded an RV with the oil wrestling league’s logo and they would book Basically matches at different bars throughout the state. This was actually pretty fun for me because I was 19 and I was able to get free liquor without being carded. We would show up at these bars and stage matches with each other in Lingerie. There were about 10 girls so there would be 4-5 matches a night. We didn’t get any money off the initial booking, but tips were thrown during the matches. We also made money when guys from the audience would request to get in the ring with us, of course the owner of course security would make sure that they didn’t touch us inappropriately or get too rough, most of the guys just wanted to get pushed around by a half-dressed woman, people also paid to take pictures with is when the matches were over. I have to admit it was all kind of a rush. We all had wrestling names, and being the only black girl, it was only right that I named myself Chocolate Thunder. These pictures are still floating around on the internet to this day.
These are just a handful of some of the jobs I did when times were hard and I was down to the little piece of soap in the shower. I have more to share with you at a later time. I’m not suggesting that you try all or any of these to make money, but I hope I inspire you to think outside the box next time, times get hard. Remember the struggle is only temporary,